The Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Society, Inc. Celebrating Hometown Legend, Johnnie Johnson!
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Join Us for the 16th Annual Johnnie Johnson Festival

July 8-9, 2017

NOW A FREE EVENT!!!

!

The 2017 Johnnie Johnson Festival Acts:
2017 Concert Lineup

 

Saturday:


12:00 Danny Tsun's Rhythm Revue


1:00 Ian Walters


2:00 KWT Blues Band


3:15 Roddy Barnes


4:15 Bill Stalnaker and Nightmoves Acoustic


5:15 Roddy Barnes and Ian Walters


7:00 ANTHONY ROSANO AND THE CONQUEROOS


8:30 Damon Fowler

10:00 All Star Jam

 

 

Sunday:

12:00 Danny Tsun's Rhythm Revue


1:00 Roddy Barnes


2:00 KWT Blues Band


3:00 Ian Walters


4:00 Roddy Barnes and Ian Walters


5:30 Apocolypse Blues Revue


7:00 Bill Stalnaker and Nightmoves

 

*All times are approximate*

*Schedule subject to change*

 

 
 
This event is FREE and open to the public!
 
ATTENTION FESTIVAL GOERS!
SPECIAL DISCOUNT ROOM RATES
AT CLARION INN FAIRMONT LOCATION!

*Mention the festival to get the discount rate!
Click here for Details!
 
 
JOHNNIE JOHNSON:  1924-2005
The Annual Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival has become a summer tradition!
Join us in Johnnie's hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, as we pay tribute to the Legendary Johnnie Johnson! It was one of Johnnie's dreams that the festival named in his honor would become yet another part of his amazing musical legacy. National recording artists, as well as local and regional musicians have graced the festival's stage. This year is set to be another winner, with some truly talented musicians already booked, and more to be announced!
The Legendary Johnnie Johnson!
 
 

As the legend goes, Robert Johnson infamously started his career by meeting the Devil at the crossroads. By the same token, you could say Apocalypse Blues Revue began playing at the end of the world. Co-founded by Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola and featuring vocalist Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone and bassist Brian Carpenter, the quartet honors blues traditions, while etching their stamp on the genre in blood.

“As far as blues goes, Apocalypse Blues Revue is a little heavier, a little darker, and has some punk rock attitude in the lyrics,” affirms Shannon. “We wanted to make something deep that will provoke thought. It had to be evil though. We’re not trying to make it happy. It’s called blues for a reason! It was also an opportunity to show the world what a phenomenal guitar player Tony is.”

Shannon witnessed Tony’s knack for the style firsthand, while writing together for Godsmack’s 2010 offering The Oracle. Burnt out on metal and hard rock, the pair would loosely jam without boundaries. During one impromptu session in their Southwest Florida rehearsal spot, the drummer laid down a slow, simmering groove, and another side of the guitar player reared its head.

“I couldn’t believe it,” smiles Shannon. “I didn’t even know he was into blues or could play the way he does. My reaction was immediate. We had to officially start a blues band.”

“There’s always been some blues in my playing,” adds Tony. “It came from classic rock like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC. Then, I got into guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Gales. We decided to mix it up, merging traditional blues and heavier elements.”

In between breaks from their rigorous Godsmack touring schedule, the duo amassed countless ideas and decided to begin creating songs. Impressed by his Jim Morrison-esque baritone, they welcomed Rafer—who Shannon appropriately met at a biker bar—into the fold. 2013 saw Brian join after the drummer judged a local radio contest he won. With the lineup locked and a slew of shows under their collective belt, the boys cut a demo of “The Devil In Me.” It landed in the hands of Mascot Records who offered them a deal immediately during late 2015, and it also served as the perfect introduction to the group.

“It’s that dark blues man,” says Shannon. “It’s a good snapshot of everything we are.”

In February 2016, Apocalypse Blues Revue entered The Vibe Recording Studio and cut their self-titled debut in just nine days. Mixed by Dave Fortman, the music conjures up swampy soul colored by gusts of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly over the course of 12 tracks. “The Blues Are Falling from the Sky” shuffles along on a powerful beat as the six-string wails in tandem with smoky vocals.

“I wrote that when we were on tour in Australia with Godsmack,” recalls Shannon. “I was really hungover, missing my family, studio, bed, and pillow. It was raining outside that day, and I came up with the melody and lyric. I ran to Tony’s room and sang it to him. He picked up the guitar and instantly started writing the riff. It’s my favorite song we’ve ever written.”

“It had some really cool off-time signatures,” Tony describes. “I just let the strat speak!”

“Devil Plays A Strat” grinds on a lead guitar screech, wah-wah cry, ominous groove, and heavy stomp. “I love the story,” he smiles. “A guy walks in to this bar with a Les Paul, and he’s going up against Satan on a Stratocaster. It nods to Charlie Daniels Band’s ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’”

Elsewhere on the record, slow scorcher “The Tower” features a guest solo from one of Tony’s heroes modern blues icon: Eric Gales.

“I wrote that one the same day I came up with ‘The Blues Are Falling From The Sky,’” Shannon recalls. “I just remember I was staying on one of the top floors in this hotel. I stared out the window, and I could see everybody down below. It was literally a ‘Tower.’”

“Evil Is As Evil Does” kicks off the record with a simmering Southern-style stomp, painting a picture of evil in the world. Ray smiles. “That’s deep heavy blues. It’s got real dark crossroads lyrics, and I gave everything I had right from my gut!”

“Junkie Hell” paints a picture of addiction’s demonic grip. “That one comes from within as well as some things I’ve seen firsthand,” Ray admits. “You’re watching someone go down. However, you wake up one morning, figure it out, and move on. It was powerful.”

Then, there’s “I Think Not,” which stops an antagonist dead in his tracks with Ray’s howl. He adds, “I was on an acoustic guitar, and I was around someone who was trying to hurt me in many ways. I got angry about it. I’ll tell you this, ‘You don’t want to piss off a songwriter and make them personally angry with you. You can end up getting ripped! It’s a true story.”

 

the Apocalypse blues revue

http://www.theapocalypsebluesrevue.com

 

 

 

 

 

The ominous “Crossed Over” details as Shannon puts it, “Crossing over to the side. It’s that last big ride.”

“Whiskey In My Coffee” speaks to facing the day—but needing that liquid courage. Its push-and-pull is mirrored in the guitar and vocal tension, ultimately espousing a different escape than downing a bottle.

“Work In Progress” encapsulates the journey that Shannon, Tony, Ray, and Brian have collectively embarked upon together. “This is a work in progress,” says the drummer. “It’s all coming together one step at a time, and we’re rolling with it.”

Meanwhile, “Blue Cross” materialized on a day Shannon showed up to the studio rocking some blue suede shoes. They just started jamming, and the song came to life. “It was about that day,” smiles the singer. “Everybody put their touch on it, and we really gave the song a pair of balls. When Shannon hit that kick drum in those shoes, it’s awesome!”

Everything culminates on their interpretation of The Doors’ “When The Music’s Over.” “We all love The Doors,” he continues. “We end the show with the song, killing the lights and just getting into it. We wanted to play the song our way, and that’s it. All of the changes are subtle. This could be a tradition with doing one The Doors song an album!”

The songs thread together the record’s themes reflected in the name.

“Back in the day, I was in a punk band called Amen,” says Shannon. “I got the nickname ‘Apocalypse’ on tour. It stuck with me, and I got it tattooed on my right forearm. Tony and I came up with the band name together. I connected it to the Blues Brothers, because at the end of the movie they do The Blues Brothers Blues Revue. Hence, the Apocalypse Blues Revue.”

Tony and Shannon’s creative union grows stronger by the gig. It traces back to 2001 when Shannon joined Godsmack. Selling 20 million records worldwide and garnering four GRAMMY® Award nominations, the juggernaut remains a hard rock institution. In 2007, Tony and Shannon would also co-found rock outfit Another Animal together. However, Apocalypse Blues Revue holds a special place in both of their hearts.

“I want people to walk away with our songs stuck in their heads,” Shannon leaves off. “The music speaks for itself on this record.”

“It’s back to basics,” concludes Tony. “I wanted to be able to go to a gig with no production—just an amp, a pedal board, and a guitar—and play.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damon Fowler

http://www.damonfowler.com

After spending much of the past year touring with the band Southern Hospitality, Damon Fowler is back with his third solo project for Blind Pig Records, Sounds of Home. Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce and record him at Tab’s rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon’s strongest effort to date. The tension between his measured, laid-back vocal delivery and the hallmark intensity of his guitar virtuosity has never been keener, and the stories told in his songwriting here – sometimes in collaboration with long-time writing partner Ed Wright and Benoit – exhibit a combination of depth, grace and humor very few of his contemporaries can match.
Damon sets the standard for what is to come on the first track, “Thought I Had It All.” It’s an  introspective, brooding tale shot through with razor sharp, frenetic guitar leads. Other songs like the title cut and “Where I Belong” flow in an easy Southern groove.  Damon offers up two covers, peppering Johnny Winter’s “TV Mama” with slithering slide guitar runs, and doing a great version of Elvis Costello’s “Alison.” The country tinged “Old Fools, Bar Stools, And Me” offers a poignant take on a familiar theme. “Do It for The Love” is a sweetly contemplative ballad featuring the lyrical counterpoint of Damon’s lead guitar and Tab’s pedal steel. The album closes with an inspired, finger-picked rendition of the traditional gospel song, “I Shall Not Be Moved.”  As with Damon’s legendary live performances, Sounds of Home takes the listener on a tour through the rich traditions of American roots music, presented by one of its foremost practitioners.
Alongside his solo career, Damon joined forces with fellow guitarist JP Soars and keyboardist Victor Wainwright in 2011 to form the southern roots rock group, Southern Hospitality. SoHo quickly became a strong draw on the national circuit due to their early, roof-raising live performances and their first recording, Easy Livin’, on Blind Pig. Of their first show BluesWax said, “Southern Hospitality, after a single gig, has significant players in the blues world taking notice. Fowler, Wainwright and Soars share much love for the songs of the South. The hot jazz and funk of New Orleans, classic country, gospel, soul, and blues that became rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis and went global by way of a trucker named Elvis.” Hittin’ The Note called the album “a dozen potent shots of pure Southern pleasure. The roughneck, laid-back ways of this fine debut are reminiscent of the best days of Southern rock.” Damon has neatly managed to balance his participation in SoHo with his own, well-established solo endeavors.
On the strength of his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, the Florida native started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. In 2008’s  “Best of Tampa” poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him “Best Guitarist… And Slide Guitarist… and Lap Steel Player… And Dobro Player.” Fowler’s guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it’s his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes.
Damon’s Blind Pig debut, 2009’s Sugar Shack, showcased a fresh and exciting rising star coming into his own as a performer and writer. Damon’s sparkling original compositions paired perfectly with well-chosen cover tunes from Billy Joe Shaver, Merle Haggard, and the Amazing Rhythm Aces. The critical reaction to its release was unanimously laudatory. The Chicago Sun Times proclaimed, “Make way for the next big-time guitar slinger, wire-walking Tampa, Fla., native Damon Fowler. This kid can play, garnering big raves for his power trio’s live shows. Even better, he shows no need to kill you with pyrotechnics on his major-label debut.”Hittin’ The Note said, “With this album, Damon Fowler is really just starting to open up shop, and I suspect he’ll be open for business for a long time to come,” while Billboard noted, “He’s a formidable slide guitar player, and has also mastered lap steel and dobro as well as electric guitar; his playing throughout the album is deft. Indeed, Fowler may be so skillful that he prefers pickin’ tasty to larger-than-life guitar heroics.”
In 2011, Blind Pig released Devil Got His Way, which went a long way toward fulfilling the tremendous potential that his acclaimed debut promised. His remarkable songwriting skills and vocal expressiveness were maturing, and his instrumental voice, by turns incendiary and deeply lyrical, got even stronger. The styles and moods of the songs on Devil Got His Way ran the gamut. The sharp title cut told a sordid tale, punctuated by furious slide guitar runs. “After The Rain” was a beautiful, meditative ballad. “Tight Rope” recalled the playful tone of Leon Russell’s version, without sounding derivative. From the swampy nighttime heat of “Cypress In The Pines” to the wistful, R&B feel of “You Go Your Way” to the ironically rock anthemic “American Dream,” Damon showed the uncanny ability to make all the flavors of American rock’n’roll uniquely his own. Like its predecessor, Damon’s second Blind Pig release garnered high praise from reviewers everywhere. As Living Blues put it, “Devil Got His Way is full of lyrically rich, confident songwriting and  shimmering Americana-laced guitar. Fowler is as expressive a songwriter as he is a singer and instrumentalist. He’s preaching an otherworldly, Americana-themed gospel from a six-stringed pulpit. He is a roots guitar guru in the making.”
Damon Fowler’s star is on the rise. As Wade Tatangelo put it in a feature piece in March, 2013, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Damon Fowler’s big, dimple grin cuts through the darkness as he stands outside the historic cottage he calls home in Bradenton Beach. It’s the same endearing smile he’s flashed on stages across the country and, in recent years, abroad, for nearly two decades. But these days, his smile shines just a bit brighter. In the past year Fowler has married, become a father and witnessed his music career reach new heights thanks to the formation of the super group Southern Hospitality.”
And to this list of accomplishments we can now add the release of a superb new recording, Sounds of Home.

 

 
 
Roddy Barnes

 

 

"He's like the Bruce Springsteen of boogie woogie . . . He's a man in the grips of a sensual hankering that hardly allows him a breath between the long, languid lines of his blues . . . He keeps stirring up desire until it builds to the emergency condition of "Call 911," as deadly humorous a boogie as any Long-Tall You-Know-Who ever put down." - J.D. Buhl, "Holy Soul Piano Roll," Kansas City's The New Times

 

 

 

 

“With his powerful piano style, and his world-weary, yet playful, vocals, I feel as if I’m time-traveling back to a juke joint in the 20’s on the old-timey feel of his music… He’s truly a blue-plate special in the world’s musical diner…eat him up!” Andra Faye, Alligator Records

 

www.roddybarnes.com

Roddy Barnes was born in 1963 in Blanchard, Iowa, a small rural farm town of around 100 people. His parents, Kenneth and Carol Barnes, were pig and grain farmers and some of Roddy's first memories were of many hours in the bean fields, pulling weeds. To amuse himself, Roddy would make up songs as he worked - the start to his musical creativity.
His first musical influence was church. Roddy's parents had an old upright and at age four, he began picking out hymns. Singing was also a strong passion and his first solo, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," he performed at age five. His first music gig came at age 15 where he played and sang in a local hotel, "The Walnut Inn" in Tarkio, Missouri.
In high school, he was awarded Musician of the Year three consecutive years, the Chopin Award and the John Philip Sousa Award both two years straight, was a member of district and state band and district chorus. He received #1 ratings at the state level on solo piano, trumpet, and voice. In 1979 as a high school sophomore, he was accepted into the the United States Collegiate Wind Band which performed in New York, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.
In 1981 Roddy was awarded full scholarships to both Missouri Western State College and Kansas University. He chose MWSC. While in college, he studied classical piano, trumpet, voice, composition and theory. As a composer, he wrote an original score for "Death of a Salesman" performed at the Missouri Repertory Theatre. He also composed music for a commercial about safe sex and scored a short film. He was awarded a grant to the Aspen Music Festival where he studied under world-renowned pianist Rita Sloan-Gottlieb.
After receiving his B.A. in Classical Performance in 1988, he was awarded a scholarship to study in France under Francois Rene Duchable. While in France, he performed in blues clubs in several French cities. He was featured in a French paper called "Le Dauphine" where, it read "(he) has conquered by his talent all the music lovers of the city of the Ducs."
In 1990, Roddy applied for, and received, a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his studies, he performed blues throughout the city. Roddy returned to the midwest in 1992 and recorded his first album, "Roll with the Punches," in Kansas City, MO.
New Orleans lured him south where he was able to perform 10 gigs a week. Some of the more notable venues were Tipitinas, Maxwells Toulouse Cabaret, and The Common Ground. While in New Orleans, he recorded three more CDs -- "Unseen," "Betrayed," and "Blues Boogie and Soul." From his "Betrayed" CD, his composition, "Because of You," was recorded by the international blues act, Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, on Alligator Records.
To advance his career, Roddy moved to Austin, Texas in 1996. He was a monthly feature on John Aielli's "Ecclecticos" on KUT radio showcasing his original songs. He also recorded his 5th CD, "Broken Wing." From this CD, another of his compositions, "Let the Gin Do the Talking," was covered by Saffire.
2004 finds Roddy in Richmond, Virginia, to collaborate with other artists. Two songs from his 6th CD, "Ballads and Barrooms," are being covered by blues artist Ann Rabson on her solo recording. (Ann is a founding member of Saffire.) The Saffire connection continues as Roddy works with another founding member, Gaye Adegbalola, performing classic blues - blues mainly from the 20's and 30's by divas such as Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter and Ma Rainey. Further, Roddy works with Filipe Rose (the Indian of the Village People) doing musical compositions, arrangements and accompaniment. He also continues to perform solo.

 

 

Ian Walters
http://www.ianbwalters.com

 

Ian B. Walters plays spirited, updated blues and standards as well as contemporary tunes. Known for his unique piano sound, dripping with soul vocals, and all-around good vibes, Ian's inventive interpretations of great old songs make them new again. After studying classical piano for 13 years, he found his musical voice in vintage blues, R&B, American Standards, and early Rock-n-roll. One of the most sought after performers in the Washington DC area, he can often be found playing blues festivals and clubs solo or with numerous bands. In 2008, Ian became the newest member of the blues piano faculty at the Augusta Heritage Center's annual Blues Week in Elkins, WV. He teaches classes and has private students in Blues Piano, combining classical western musical methods with the music of early 20th Century America extending to Rock-n-roll and early R&B. He uses various styles, including Boogie Woogie, Honky Tonk, and New Orleans Stride and Ragtime to demonstrate a historical approach to the development of American Popular Music.

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ANTHONY ROSANO AND THE CONQUEROOS
https://conqueroos.com

 

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Bill Stalnaker and Nightmoves
https://www.facebook.com/Bill-Stalnaker-and-Nightmoves
Winner of The 2016-2017 Traditions Salute Award and recognized by the State of West Virginia as a Distinguished Mountaineer.
 
 

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